Oct 16, 2022 I Bibhu Dev Misra

The Giants who Ruled the Ancient World: The Astonishing Correlation Between Art, Texts and Skeletal Remains

There was a widespread, and deeply ingrained, belief in the ancient world that a race of giants once walked the Earth and interacted with our human ancestors. These demigods – born of the union of gods and mortals - were endowed with exceptional physical size and strength. They were the heroic warriors and rulers of old, who would embark on exciting adventures, make new discoveries and slay powerful, bizarre monsters. They were adored and deified by our ancestors, their heroic deeds being woven into songs and etched in stone. The Genesis referred to them as nephilim, who were born in the antediluvian period, when the gods mated with the daughters of men: 

“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose...The Nephilim were on the earth in those days — and also afterward — when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:1-4)

There was another class of giants who were generally called the Earth giants or the sons of the Earth (Gaia). These enormous, hulking monsters, apparently, lived inside caves, or subterranean chambers, hidden within dense forests or mountainous terrains. The Earth giants were liable to turn rogue from time to time, oppressing, abducting or killing humans, and destroying their farms and places of worship. At such times of discord and disorder, the gods and the heroic demigods would come to the rescue of humanity, by getting rid of the violent monsters. 

One such episode recorded in Greek legends is the famous Gigantomachy – which was an epic battle between the Earth giants and the Olympian gods for supremacy. The Olympian gods knew that they needed the help of a mortal in order to emerge victorious, and they found the perfect ally in the demigod Hercules, who killed the giants with the assistance of Zeus, Poseidon and Athena. Sculptural representations of Gigantomachy, depict many of the Earth giants having legs in the form of coiled serpents, which is indicative of their chthonic (underworld) origin.

Gigantomachy showing Athena and snake-legged giants. Roman Period, 1st century CE, from Aphrodisias. On display in Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Giovanni Dall'Orto

A corresponding event in Indian legends is the battle of Rama against the giants called Rakshasas. The Rakshasas were of colossal stature and strength, having bodies covered in hair, often cannibalistic, and possessing supernatural powers of disappearance and deception. The Ramayana tells us that, when Rama lopped off the head of a colossal Rakshas called Kumbhakarna with his arrow, “the head of the titan resembling a mountain, fell on the earth crushing the highways, residences, gates and edifices of the city, bearing down the high walls also; and that gigantic body of great resplendence belonging to the titan, fell into the sea where it crushed the great sharks, huge fishes and serpents, and plunged into the depths below.”[1]

When we read descriptions of such towering giants we are left to wonder if they are just exaggerations, or could it be that the Earth actually supported such monstrous beings in the past. Given the past history of gigantism on our planet, nothing should be off the table, really. The question is, if these giants really existed, how big were they? Fortunately, some indications of the heights of these prehistoric giants can be gleaned from ancient art, sacred texts and some records of gigantic skeletal remains found during the Greco-Roman period as well as the modern era. Let us begin by looking at some visual depictions, and who better to start with than Hercules.

Giants in Art

The first labour of Hercules was to slay the monstrous Nemean lion, which had skin so tough that no weapon could penetrate it. Hercules killed the lion by strangling it with his bare hands. Greco-Roman depictions show that Hercules was somewhat taller than the Nemean lion, when it stood on its hind legs. Moreover, after killing the lion, he had skinned its hide to make an impenetrable lion-skin armour, which extended below his knees. 

How big was the Nemean lion? The largest African lion recorded till now had a body length (head and torso) of 3.3 m i.e. nearly 11 feet [2]. The monstrous Nemean lion was probably of similar size, not only because it was the largest of its time, but also because lions have progressively become smaller as their habitats have shrunk. A lion of this size would easily exceed 13 feet, standing on its hind legs. This tells us that the Greco-Roman artists visualized Hercules as a 15-feet giant! That’s 5 feet higher than a baskteball hoop. How many times did he bang his head while going in and out of the house? No wonder he preferred to spend most of his time outdoors.  

Hercules and the Nemean Lion.c. 520 to 500 BCE, British Museum. Credit: Jastrow, Public Domain

If you think 15-feet is excessive, then Gilgamesh, the legendary hero of Mesopotamian literature, will surely smirk at you from behind his plaited beard. A 5.5 m (18 feet) high Assyrian relief carving of Gilgamesh, which was found in the throne room of the Palace of Sargon II at Dur Sharrukin (c.713–706 BCE), shows him effortlessly grasping a lion with his left hand – almost as if it was a chihuahua being taken to the local dog show. 

Gilgamesh standing next to a Lamassu. On display at the Louvre. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Darafsh CC BY-SA 3.0

In the image above, Gilgamesh is standing next to an Assyrian lamassu – a winged, bull-man, protective figure. Using the size of the lion as a yardstick, it appears that Gilgamesh was a little more than twice the size of the lion – which would make him a strapping 30-feet giant! One might think that the Assyrian artist who sculpted this was probably a huge Gilgamesh-fan and went a bit overboard here, and I would tend to agree with that assessment.

We know that Gilgamesh was a demigod or nephilim, and a king of the Sumerian city of Uruk. His father was a deified king called Lugalbanda, who had ruled for a mind-boggling 1200 years, while his mother was the goddess Ninsun, the protector of cows. Some scholars have suggested that, if Gilgamesh was a historical king, he may have ruled at around 2700 BCE - which simply does not make sense in the context of the Sumerian Kings List (SKL) [3]. In the Sumerian Kings List, there are 51 kings and 5,454 years between Gilgamesh and Sargon of Akkad, who is well attested in the archaeological records for his conquests of the Sumerian city states. Sargon’s rule has been dated between c. 2334–2279 BCE; which implies that Gilgamesh would have lived 5454 years earlier, at around 7788 BCE – a very remote time when, as per the doctrine of the World Ages, the gods used to interact with humans, and powerful demigods were born from their union with mortal women.

A symbolic motif, very similar to the ones above, appears in the Bronze Age art of multiple ancient cultures. The icon depicts a powerful person grasping two ferocious animals – usually lions or tigers – with his hands, and sometimes dangling the animals by their hind legs almost like a pair of yo-yos’. Historians refer to this symbolic motif as “Master of Animals”, which indicates dominance and control over animals. 

The earliest instance of the “Master of Animals” symbol was discovered quite recently, in 2018, on the western coast of India, at a place called Ratnagiri. Hundreds of petroglyphs were found in the region, which were etched on the flat, laterite, hilltops of the Konkan coastline. Tejas Garge, the Director of the Maharashtra State Archaeology Department, told the BBC that, “our first deduction from examining these petroglyphs is that they were created around 10,000 BCE.”[4] That puts the creation of these petroglyphs at the very beginning of the post glacial era.

One of the petroglyphs found at Ratnagiri shows a man holding two animals upside-down by their hind legs – a classic “Master of Animals” motif (Click here for image). It is not clear from the petroglyph what the two animals are, but the image exudes a sense of immense strength and courage. Considering that the Ice Age megafauna were much larger than those of the present day, the person pulling off this feat was probably very tall.

The “Master of Animals” motif was depicted throughout the Bronze Age in Egypt, Greece, Crete, Indus Valley and other cultures. The icon was primarily used in the context of ancient kings, heroes and demigods, although it was also used to symbolize gods. Sometimes the central figure is a female, in which case the icon is called the “Mistress of Animals”. The images were most likely the remembrances of an earlier time, when the nephilim or demigods lived on the Earth – as mentioned in the sacred texts and oral legends - and ruled over humanity.

Master of Animals depicted on the ivory handle of the Gebel el-Arak knife, c. 3300 - 3200 BCE. Naqada II Culture of Predynastic Egypt, Louvre. Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Rama CC BY-SA 2.0
Master of Animals, Indus Valley steatite seal, c.2600 - 1900 BCE. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
Winged Artemis as Mistress of Animals. A lekythos (oil flask), c. 560-550 CE, from Athens. Louvre Museum. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Bujomar CC BY-SA 4.0
Minoan Master of Animals, c. 14th century BCE. Cylinder seal impression. Source: Met Museum, Public Domain

It is apparent from the “Master of Animals” motif that the ancient artists envisaged their heroes as very tall and powerful beings; and using the lions and tigers as benchmarks, we can infer that most of them were touching the 15 feet mark. Interestingly, there was a prevailing belief in the Greco-Roman world that their ancient heroes were 15 feet tall. This is evident from a passage from Philostatus’s On Heroes, where a Phoenician sailor tells a vinedresser that, “What is said about the great size of the heroes—how they were ten cubits (15 feet) tall—I consider pleasing in storytelling, but false and unconvincing for one who observes things according to nature.”[5]

It is reassuring to note that, what can be deduced visually from the artistic output, finds confirmation in the ancient texts. The art and the texts are in sync. It’s an indication that we are being able to peek into the minds of the ancient artists to know that they were really trying to tell us. The biblical texts provide some more intriguing details about the sizes of the nephilim who roamed the world during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age.

The Biblical Giants

The Old Testament mentions a number giant races who inhabited Canaan during the Late Bronze Age, such as the Anakites, Emites, Zamzummites and Rephaites. The Anakites or Anakim were of such large stature that they had alarmed the spies sent by Moses into Canaan. Upon their return, the spies related that:

“All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak who come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:32–33)

In Deuteronomy 2: 10,11, it is told, in reference to the wilderness of Moab, that, “The Emites used to live there, a people great and many, as tall as the Anakites.” Deuteronomy 2: 20,21 states, regarding the land of Ammon, “that too was regarded as the land of the Rephaim, who used to live there, though the Ammonites called them Zamzummites. They were a people great and many, as tall as the Anakites.” The question is, how tall were these giants of the Old Testament? Fortunately, there are some textual references which throw light on this matter. 

King Og, the ruler of Bashan, was a giant who had been slain by Moses and his men. Deuteronomy 3:11 declares, “Og king of Bashan was the last of the Rephaites. His bed was decorated with iron and was more than nine cubits long (13.5 feet) and four cubits (6 feet) wide. It is still in Rabbah of the Ammonites.” Since a bedstead is usually longer than the sleeper by at least a couple of feet, it is probable that Og was around 10-11 feet tall. 

Goliath of Gath, whose was slayed by David, was apparently a descendant of the Anakites who fled to Philistia. As per 1 Samuel 17, Goliath had a height of “six cubits and a span,” which would make him nearly 9 feet 9 inches tall. It appears, therefore, that during the Late Bronze age, those who were regarded as giants stood between 9 -11 feet in height. 

In the “Wars of the Jews” – which is the best ancient source of the events that led up the destruction of Jerusalem and the holy temple in 70 CE – the Jewish historian Josephus mentions a 10.5 feet giant Jew named Eleazar who was presented as a gift to Tiberius Caesar, in the presence of Herod Antipas, by the king of Parthia, Artabanus III in 33 or 34 CE.

“When Tiberius had heard of these things, he desired to have a league of friendship made between him and Artabanus… And when they had agreed upon the terms of peace, Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch erected a rich tent on the midst of the passage, and made them a feast there. Artabanus also, not long afterwards, sent his son Darius as an hostage, with many presents, among which there was a man seven cubits tall [10.5 feet], a Jew he was by birth, and his name was Eleazar, who, for his tallness, was called a giant.”[6]

Pliny the Elder, also writing in the 1st century CE, stated in Natural History that,

“The tallest person our age has seen was a man named Gabbara brought from Arabia in the principate of the deified Claudius who was 9 ft. 9 in. in height. Under the deified Augustus there were two persons 6 inches taller (i.e. 10.3 feet), whose bodies on account of this remarkable height were preserved in the tomb in Sallust's Gardens; their names were Pusio and Secundilla.”[7]

Both Pliny and Josephus were writing in the Early Iron Age, and from their accounts it is evident that during these periods the biggest giants measured around 9 -11 feet in height. We may consider this to be the benchmark values for giants in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age. Evidently, the average size of giants had reduced from 15 feet during the time of the legends i.e. the Neolithic, Mesolithic and Early Bronze Age, to around 10 feet during the Early Iron Age. 

Assyrian king Ashurbanipal hunting a lion, c. 645 - 635 BCE. A normal lion standing on its hindlegs is around 10 feet tall. Since this lion is inclined, it appears that Ashurbanipal portrayed himself as roughly 9 feet fall. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Zunkir CC BY-SA 4.0

The decline in height is in perfect alignment with the doctrine of the World Ages or Yuga Cycles, as per which there is a progressive reduction in physical stature during the descending Yuga Cycle. There is an interesting story in the Sanskrit text called the Vishnu Purana, in which a king named Raivata travels to the celestial realm of Brahma during the Golden Age, but when he returns, after listening to a musical performance, it was already the Kali Yuga or Iron Age on Earth, and “he found the race of men dwindled in stature, reduced in vigour, and enfeebled in intellect.”[8] The Greeks philosophers shared similar sentiments in this respect, for Pliny wrote in Natural History that, 

“But it is almost a matter of observation that with the entire human race the stature on the whole is becoming smaller daily, and that few men are taller than their fathers...Moreover, the famous bard Homer nearly 1000 years ago never ceased to lament that mortals were smaller of stature than in the old days.”[9]

A Cambridge University study in 2011 found that modern-day people are around 10 per cent smaller than their hunter-gatherer ancestors, which indicates that these ancient beliefs are rooted in facts. We know that the Ice Age megafauna were substantially bigger than those of the present day, and it appears that the contraction in size was not restricted to animals only. Humans and “giants” shrunk in size as well. 

A pertinent question which comes up during any discussion about prehistoric giants is: where are their skeletal remains? Many of us may not be aware, but a number of well-known historians of the Greco-Roman period reported on the discovery of giant human skeletons, which were unearthed from their tombs either by accident or deliberately, and caused a considerable amount of excitement amongst the people of the time.

The Greco-Roman Giant Skeletons

Herodotus wrote in The Histories that, sometime in the mid-6th century BCE, Sparta had engaged in a series of wars with Arkadian Tegea and suffered humiliating defeats. When they consulted the Delphic Oracle, the Pythia (i.e. high priestess) told them that “they must bring home the bones of Orestes, son of Agamemnon”, who was buried somewhere in Tegea in Arkadia. The oracle provided some puzzling clues to his whereabouts, but the Spartans had trouble finding the location. Finally, the Spartan Lichas met a goldsmith in Tegea who told him, 

"I wanted to dig a well in the courtyard here, and in my digging I hit upon a coffin twelve feet long. I could not believe that there had ever been men taller than now, so I opened it and saw that the corpse was just as long as the coffin. I measured it and then reburied it.”[10]

Lichas, then, realized that those must be the bones of Orestes indicated by the Oracle, since it matched the other clues. He hired the yard, dug up the grave, collected the bones, and hurried off to Sparta with them. Ever since then, the Spartans were far superior to the Tegeans whenever they met each other in battle.

In Natural History, Pliny wrote of the accidental discovery of a giant skeleton of incredible dimensions. “When a mountain in Crete was cleft by an earthquake a body 69 feet in height was found, which some people thought must be that of Orion and others of Otus.”[11] Incidentally, both Orion and Otus were sons of the sea god Poseidon, but with different mothers. Homer wrote about Otus in The Odysey

"She (Iphimedeia) bore two sons Otus and Ephialtes, but both were short lived. They were the finest children that were ever born in this world, and the best looking, Orion only excepted; for at nine years old they were nine fathoms high (54 feet), and measured nine cubits round the chest (13.5 feet).”[12]

One of the famous giants of Greek legends was Antaeus of Libya – the son of the sea god Poseidon and the Earth goddess Gaea. He compelled all strangers who were passing through the country to wrestle with him. Antaeus remained invincible as long as he was in contact with the Earth, who was his mother. Heracles, when he was in combat with him, discovered the source of his strength and lifting him up from the Earth, crushed him to death. Plutarch, the Greek philosopher and historian of the 1st century CE, wrote in Sertorius that, when the Roman commander Quintus Sertorius crossed from Hispania to North Africa, he captured the city of Tingis - named after Tinga, the consort of Antaeus - located far to the west of Libya. 

“In this city the Libyans say that Antaeus is buried; and Sertorius had his tomb dug open, the great size of which made him disbelieve the Barbarians. But when he came upon the body and found it to be sixty cubits long (90 feet), as they tell us, he was dumbfounded, and after performing a sacrifice filled up the tomb again, and joined in magnifying its traditions and honours.”[13]

Some of the most detailed descriptions of the ancient tombs and monuments of Greece – particularly those which were either very old or had a deep religious significance – were recorded by Pausanius, a Greek from Asia Minor, who toured old Greece in the mid-2nd Century CE. In Description of Greece, Pausanius provided many accounts of giant skletons that had been unearthed in various parts of Greece.

“[1.35.6] Before the city of the Milesians is an island called Lade, and from it certain islets are detached. One of these they call the islet of Asterius, and say that Asterius was buried in it, and that Asterius was the son of Anax, and Anax the son of Earth. Now the corpse is not less than ten cubits (15 feet).”[14]

“[1.35.7,8] But what really caused me surprise is this. There is a small city of upper Lydia called The Doors of Temenus. There a crest broke away in a storm, and there appeared bones the shape of which led one to suppose that they were human, but from their size one would never have thought it. At once the story spread among the multitude that it was the corpse of Geryon, the son of Chrysaor, and that the seat also was his. For there is a man's seat carved on a rocky spur of the mountain…And when I criticized the account and pointed out to them that Geryon is at Gadeira, where there is, not his tomb, but a tree showing different shapes, the guides of the Lydians related the true story, that the corpse is that of Hyllus, a son of Earth, from whom the river is named.”[15]

“[8.29.3,4] The Syrian river Orontes does not flow its whole course to the sea on a level, but meets a precipitous ridge with a slope away from it. The Roman emperor wished ships to sail up the river from the sea to Antioch. So with much labour and expense he dug a channel suitable for ships to sail up, and turned the course of the river into this. But when the old bed had dried up, an earthenware coffin more than eleven cubits long (16.5 feet) was found in it, and the corpse was proportionately large, and human in all parts of its body. This corpse the god in Clarus, when the Syrians came to his oracle there, declared to be Orontes, and that he was of Indian race.”[16]

Philostratus, writing in the 3rd century CE, mentions a number of giant skeletons as well. In On Heroes [17], he describes a conversation between a Phoenician merchant and a vinedresser, which I have already alluded to earlier. The Phoenician merchant said that he did not believe that the ancient heroes of Greece were 15 feet tall, since no-one has seen ever such fabulous men with their own eyes, but simply relied on hearsay.  At this, the vinedresser went on to drown the poor sailor in a sea of information about ancient giant skeletons: 

[8.1] I had a grandfather who knew many of the things you do not believe. He used to say that the tomb of Ajax was destroyed by the sea near which it lies, and that bones appeared in it of a person eleven cubits (16.5 feet) tall. He also said that upon his arrival at Troy the emperor Hadrian embraced and kissed some of the bones, wrapped them up, and restored the present tomb of Ajax.

[8.6] Moreover, not more than fifty years ago, Sigeion—right over here—revealed the body of a giant on an outcropping of its promontory. Apollo himself asserts that he killed him while fighting on behalf of Troy. When sailing into Sigeion, my guest, I saw the very condition of the earth and how big the giant was. Many Hellespontians and Ionians and all the islanders and Aeolians sailed there as well. For two months the giant lay on the great promontory, giving rise to one tale after another since the oracle had not yet revealed the true story. 

[8.8] But the one in Sigeion was twenty-two cubits (33 feet) long, and it was lying in a rocky cleft with its head toward the mainland and its feet even with the promontory. But we did not see any sign of serpents around it, nor is there anything different about its bones from those of a human being. 

[8.9] Furthermore, Hymnaios of Peparêthos, who is on friendly terms with me, sent one of his sons here some four years ago to consult Protesilaos through me about a similar marvel. When Hymnaios happened to dig up vines on the island of Ikos (he alone owned the island), the earth sounded somewhat hollow to those who were digging. When they opened it up, they found a twelve cubit (18 feet) corpse lying there with a serpent inhabiting its skull. 

[8.12] Now, there is a headland on Imbros” facing the south, under which a spring is found that turns male animals into eunuchs, and makes females so drunk that they fall asleep. At this spot, when a piece of land was severed from the mainland, the body of a very large giant was pulled out. If you disbelieve me, let us set sail. The corpse still lies exposed, and the sea journey to Naulokhos is short. 

[8.14] But do not yet regard as credible what I have said, my guest, until you sail to the island of Cos, where the bones of earthborn men lie, the first descendants of Merops, they say, and until you see the bones of Hyllos, son of Herakles, in Phrygia and, by Zeus, those of the Alôadai in Thessaly, since they are really nine fathoms long (54 feet) and exactly as they are celebrated in song.

Finally, let us read what Phlegon of Tralles had to say about giant bones. Phlegon was a Greek writer and freedman (i.e. a person freed from slavery) of the emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century CE. In his book, Opuscula De rebus mirabilibus et De longaevis, he has a section on “Finds of Giant Bones”. R. S. Kirsby, quoting from his works, writes, 

“He likewise tells us that the Carthaginians, when sinking their trenches, met with two coffins, each containing the skeleton of a giant. The length of one was twenty-three cubits (34.5 feet), and of the other twenty-four cubits (36 feet). He adds, that in the Cimmerian Bosphorus an earthquake brought to light several huge bones, which being arranged formed an enormous human skeleton twenty-four cubits (36 feet) in length.”[18]

Now, that was a lot of eye-opening - or should I say eye-popping - details. Surely, all these respected historians, on whose authority we rely for much of ancient history, were not indulging in puerile sensationalism to sell their books. While a degree of exaggeration could be there in some of the accounts, particularly those in which the number of witnesses were limited, we have to admit that a  number of giant skeletons were discovered during the Greco-Roman times. However, their identification with specific heroes from the past is liable to be suspect, for there is no foolproof basis on which such associations can be made.

One of the arguments that is generally used to “explain away” these findings is that, these skeletons could be those of extinct Pleistocene quadrupeds like mammoths or mastodons, or oceanic vertebrates like whales, which the Greeks mistook for human skeletons. It is true that there is a possibility of misindentification in certain cases, particularly those where fragments of bones or teeth have been recovered due to earthquakes or the drying up of rivers. However, in many of the cases, entire human skeletons were found buried underground, within tombs or coffins. It is extremely unlikely for misindentifications to happen in such cases, for neither would anyone give ceremonial human burials to extinct megafauna, nor would the Greeks be unable to distinguish a complete human skeleton from that of an animal. 

In many of these records (at least five of them) the size of the skeleton ranges between 12 feet – 18 feet, which gives us an average of around 15 feet. Once again, we hit that magic 15 feet number. It’s almost as if the entire gamut of ancient artifacts are pushing us to recognize that 15-feet tall nephilim did indeed roam the world in the past. A few of the skeletons – some of which were found within coffins or tombs – are around 35 feet in length, which could be those of the hulking Earth giants ,who were said to live within the bowels of the Earth, from where they emerged through hidden tunnel systems, and often got into altercations with humans and the nephilim. The skeletons that are astronomically huge – touching 54 feet, 69 feet or 90 feet – are quite likely to be either exaggerations or misindentifications of extinct megafauna or marine animals like whales, since two out the three were reported lying in the open.

It is natural to wonder at this stage, as to why we have not found giant bones in the modern era. First of all, we have to remember that giants were not a dime a dozen; they were a rare breed. If some of them practiced cremation - which is quite possible, because funerary urns containing cremated remains have been found buried under massive tumuli and megalithic dolmens all over the world – then the chances of finding skeletal remains decreases substantially. Even then, at least a couple of discoveries of giant bones have been reported in the modern era.      

The Giant of Castelnau

The most well-documented discovery of giant bones in the modern times are the bone fragments of the so-called “Giant of Castelnau”, which were discovered by Georges Vacher de Lapouge in the Bronze Age cemetery of Castelnau-le-Lez, France, in 1890.19 de Lapouge had found three bones – a humerus (upper-arm bone), a tibia (shin-bone), and part of a femur (thigh-bone). All the bone fragments were much larger, in fact, almost double the size of normal human bones. The height of this prehistoric giant was estimated by de Lapouge at 3.50 m (11 feet 6 inches), and the bones were dated to the Neolithic period, since they were found at the very bottom of the Bronze Age burial tumulus. The findings were published in the journal La Nature, Vol. 18, 1890, in which de Lapouge wrote:

“I think it unnecessary to note that these bones are undeniably human, despite their enormous size.... The volumes of the bones were more than double the normal pieces to which they correspond. Judging by the usual intervals of anatomical points, they also involve lengths almost double.... The subject would have been a likely size of 3m, 50.”[20]

The Castelnau bones were studied by many professors at the the University of Montpellier and the Montpellier School of Medicine, who concurred that they were human bones. One of the professors, Dr. Paul Louis André Kiener, said that they represented a “very tall race”. Another discovery of giant bones was reported in the press in 1894, this time from a prehistoric cemetary located 5 km southwest of Castelnau in Montpellier. These bones were even larger, and belonged to a race of giants who stood between 10 -15 feet tall. The Princeton union of October 11, 1894, carried the following report:

“In a prehistoric cemetery recently uncovered at Montpellier, France, while workmen were excavating a water works reservoir, human skulls were found measuring 28, 31 and 32 inches in circumference (as opposed to 19 inches for a normal human skull). The bones which were found with the skulls were also of gigantic proportions. These relics were sent to the Paris academy, and a learned “savant” who lectured on the find says that they belonged to a race of men between ten and fifteen feet in height.”[21]

Once again we find that the upper limit of these prehistoric giants touches the 15-feet mark, thereby aligning in a remarkable fashion with what we have already noted from the ancient art, sacred and historical texts and the records of giant skeletal remains from the Greco-Roman times. It is at this point that the skeptic has to lay aside his pen, take a deep breath, loosen his inhibitions and admit that his preconceived notions were incorrect, and that it is very likely that 15-feet tall giants lived in the past, whose echoes can be seen in a variety of ancient artifacts. The demigods or nephilim that the ancients wrote about and venerated were not mere figments of their imagination, but eye-witness accounts and depictions of their reality, which was dramatically different from that of the present day.   


1 Valmiki Ramayana 6.67, tr. Hari Prasad Shastri (1952), Link
2 "The Biggest Lions in the World", Discovery, Link
3 “The Sumerian King List”, Livius.org, Link
4 “Prehistoric art hints at lost Indian civilization”, BBC News, 1 Oct. 2018, Link
5 Philostratus, On Heroes 7.9, Link
6 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18.101-105, Link
7 Pliny, Natural History 7.74, 75, Link
8 The Vishnu Purana 4.1, Sacred Texts, Link
9 Pliny, Natural History 7.73 -74, Link
10 Herodotus, The Histories 1.68.1 - 1.68.6, Link
11 Pliny, Natural History 7.73, Link
12 Homer, The Odysey 11.7, Link
13 Plutarch, Sertorius 9.3, Link 
14 Pausanius, Description of Greece 1.35.6 , Link 
15 Pausanius, Description of Greece 1.35.7,8, Link 
16 Pausanius, Description of Greece 8.29.3,5, Link
17 Philostratus, On Heroes, 8.1 – 8.14, Link 
18 R. S. Kirby, Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum: Or, Magazine of Remarkable Characters (1804), Volume 2, p 375
19 “Giant of Castelnau”, Wikipedia, Link
20 de Lapouge, G. (1890). "Le G?ant Fossile de Castelnau". La Nature. 888: 11–12, taken from Wikipedia, “Giant of Castelnau”, Link
21 Princeton union, October 11, 1894, Link

Bibhu Dev Misra

Bibhu Dev Misra is an independent researcher and writer on ancient civilizations and ancient mysteries. His passion is to explore the knowledge left behind by the ancients in the form of inscriptions, artifacts, monuments, symbols, glyphs, myths and legends. His articles have been published in different magazines and websites such as the New Dawn, Science to Sage, Nexus, Viewzone, Graham Hancock's website, Waking Times etc. and he has been featured on podcasts, interviews and online conferences organized by Earth Ancients, Portal to Ascension, OSOM, Watcher's Talk, Times FM and others. He is an engineer from IIT and a MBA from IIM, and has worked in the Information Technology industry for more than two decades. He can be reached at [email protected] and via his website Ancient Inquiries: www.bibhudevmisra.com

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